Selwyn Manning Interviews National’s Youngest MP Jami-Lee Ross On Local Government Law Reform & Auckland Council
Triangle TV, Beatson Interview, August 13 2012:At 26 years of age Jami-Lee Ross is Parliament’s youngest member. He is also one of the National Party caucus’ most experienced local government politicians.
Jami-Lee Ross was:
* Twice elected as an eastern suburbs councillor to Manukau City
* Elected as a councillor to the new Auckland supercity
* And then last year Jami-Lee won the Botany by-election for National.
How has it been being the new kid on the Parliament block?
LOCAL GOVERNMENT LAW REFORM:
With a rich background in local government affairs, how are your views helping to shape the Government’s new laws that will affect councils all over the country?
Quotes: In your maiden speech you said: “I am a staunch believer in limited government…”
Also in your Maiden Speech you said: “It has been my observation during my time as a city councillor that as politicians we have a natural tendency to want to legislate… or to regulate, often in a way that limits the freedoms of everyday New Zealanders.”
Why is the National Government moving to give itself more power over how the country’s councils run their affairs?
Shortly before he resigned his Cabinet portfolios, your caucus collegue Nick Smith announced the local government legislative agenda, and said: “The reforms will help keep rates affordable and debt at prudent levels…”
That statement has been seen by its critics as a move by the Beehive to assert control over New Zealand’s councils.
Isn’t this reform limiting the freedoms of city and district councillors who may wish to conduct their governance responsibilities without Wellington bureaucrats telling them what they have to do?
On June 12 – in the First Reading to Parliament of the Local Government Amendment Bill – the new Minister of Local Government, David Carter said… a priority of the reform includes:
“… the establishment of financial prudence requirements for local authorities.”
Now on the surface that sound fair. Every household, business, council and government has to attempt to balance the books.
But what is less clear are the consequences on local authorities should they not respond to Beehive dictates to cut costs and keep rates down. How will the Beehive enforce its will on councils once this bill is passed?
THE BEEHIVE VS AUCKLAND COUNCIL:
OK let’s look at the interaction between the Beehive and Auckland Council.
In a statement made on July 20 the Local Government Minister said: “concerns were expressed about the effectiveness and affordability of [Auckland Council's] transport strategy…”
Isn’t this a case of the Beehive not liking the priorities this region’s council has set, and the minister moving to ensure the Beehive’s will will win?
Aucklanders this week received their rates bills for the next twelve months. Tens of Thousands of households were notified of significant increases including hikes of over 30% in pockets of the Supercity.
What DO YOU make of this?
If this new Local Government Ammendment Bill was already law, would the Beehive tolerate Auckland Council’s 2012/13 rates demands where some households have been presented with increases of over 30%?
Did the National-led Government get it wrong when its Supercity law insisted the new Auckland Council move to establish Capital Valuation rates bases over the entire greater Auckland region?